Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I Was A Racist
Orange & Blue Magazine
**This piece won 3rd place in the William Randolph Hearts Collegiate Writing Competition.
By Te-Erika Patterson
I once heard a comedian say, "Handing out fliers is like saying, 'Hey, will you throw this away for me?'"
I laugh at my own little joke as a friend and I walk down Turlington Plaza's receiving line of party promoters handing out fliers for weekend events.
As my friend and I are walking, I notice white promoters scramble to hand her invitations while black promoters smile mischievously at me handing me theirs.
We reach the end of the plaza and turn around to look at our fliers. Not one of the black promoters has handed her an invitation and not a single white promoter has acknowledged me.
She is white and I am black, but our money is exactly the same color.
It is 2003, almost fifty years after segregation in schools was declared illegal and on a campus as diverse as the University of Florida we cannot even party together.
It's sort of like back pocket discrimination. You won't know it's in there unless you sit on it. However vague, it seems as though we all unconsciously contribute to this voluntary segregation. Like nodding your head in agreement without hearing the question.
As we all share this experience known as college, we must take a moment to recognize the false reality that surrounds us is robbing us of an opportunity for a breakthrough.
Would anyone be willing to admit to the racist thoughts made in secret as we slam on our brakes in frustration as another (insert racial slur here) student walks out in front of our cars?
Is there an invisible wall between the races that will never be removed or even recognized?
I recently learned something about myself that was hard to swallow.
I was a racist.
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